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Action Plan for Seniors

January 25, 2013

Ontario has launched an Action Plan for Seniors which builds on recommendations for a seniors’ strategy based on provincial consultations. The “Action Plan for Seniors” was informed by the recently released highlights from the report “Living Longer, Living Well” by Dr. Samir Sinha.

Dr. Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals; he was appointed last May to guide the development of a strategy and has held consultations for the past six months.

Based on his consultations, Dr. Sinha developed a report that identifies a number of core issues and themes. He puts forward five principles for a Seniors’ Strategy which include: access, equity, choice, value and quality.

His key recommendations focused on:

  • Promoting Health and Wellness
  • Strengthening Primary Care for Older Ontarians
  • Enhancing the Provision of Home and Community Care Services
  • Improving Acute Care for Elders
  • Enhancing Ontario’s Long-Term Care Home Environments
  • Addressing the Specialized Care Needs of Older Ontarians
  • Medications and Older Ontarians
  • Caring for Caregivers Addressing Ageism and Elder Abuse
  • Addressing the Unique Needs of Older Aboriginal Peoples in Ontario
  • Supporting the Development of Elder Friendly Communities
  • Necessary Enablers to Support a Seniors Strategy for Ontario

Community geriatric mental health and addictions services are mentioned as an important means of addressing the specialized care needs of older Ontarians. Dr. Sinha recommends that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care support its Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to help define what core community geriatric mental health and addictions services need to be funded and delivered; and also suggests that a standard approach to assessment, referral, and service delivery models needs to be developed and implemented within and across LHINs.

Drawing from Dr. Sinha’s report, and using a cross-government approach, the Seniors’ Action Plan draws on new and existing programs and initiatives to ensure that seniors and their caregivers have access to the services they need, when and where they need them. The goals for the plan are categorized into three streams: Healthy Seniors, Senior-Friendly Communities; and Safety and Security.

Among other actions, Ontario’s “Action Plan for Seniors” will:

  • Provide more home care services by expanding personal support worker services through community support agencies;
  • Expanding house call services for roles beyond primary care physicians such as nurse practitioners and other health care professions;
  • Create a ‘one-stop’ information source for seniors’ services online at the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat website and by phone at 1-888-910-1999;
  • Enhance elder abuse prevention training for community agencies;
  • Implement a wandering prevention program to help families living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The Ontario government will continue to study Dr. Sinha’s report, “Living Longer, Living Well” and implement recommendations in the months to come.

See “Independence, Activity and Good Health – Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors” available at www.ontario.ca/seniors.

See Dr. Sinha’s report, “Living Longer, Living Well” atwww.health.gov.on.ca.

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